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S.Korean prosecutors to summon ousted President Park for questioning next week

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-03-15 10:16

SEOUL - South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday notified former President Park Geun-hye of the date of her appearing in the prosecution office for questioning.

Park will be summoned at 9:30 am local time (0030 GMT) on March 21, according to local media reports. Park's legal team has reportedly said she would actively cooperate with the prosecution office's investigation.

Park has stayed in her private home in a southern district of Seoul since she vacated the presidential Blue House on Sunday night.

The constitutional court unanimously upheld the motion to impeach Park on Friday, about three months after the motion was passed in the parliament by an overwhelming majority.

Park became the first South Korean leader to be removed from office through impeachment.

State prosecutors have taken over the probe into the corruption scandal embroiling Park from special prosecutors, which ended their 90-day investigation on Feb. 28.

Park has been identified by prosecutors as an accomplice to her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, who is now in custody for multiple charges including bribery and abuse of power.

Park is accused of conspiring with Choi to receive bribes in return for supporting the 2015 merger of two affiliates of Samsung Group, South Korea's biggest family-controlled conglomerate.

The merger was extremely crucial to Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, Samsung's heir apparent, to inherit the management control from his ailing father Lee Kun-hee who has been hospitalized for almost three years.

The former leader is also charged with colluding with Choi to extort tens of millions of U.S. dollars from business conglomerates to establish two nonprofit foundations Choi used for personal gains.

Park had denied all the charges, refusing to be investigated by both state and special prosecutors when she was the head of state.

As she is now a civilian, Park can forcibly be taken into custody if she refuses the summoning without any specific reason.

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